Topics in this issue of Behind the Blue:
Our most recent Nielsen report for the week ending July 31, 2021, is available here. The report shows total blueberry sales up +1.8% in dollars, but down -6.4% in units and -6.8% in volume relative to July 2020. Sales trends for both fresh and frozen blueberries in grocery continue to show softness as we lap the record-setting pandemic lockdown sales of 2020.
Nielsen retail sales for the month of July show fresh blueberry retail dollars were up +3.4% in dollars, but down -6.2% in volume, while frozen blueberries were down -10.6% in dollars and -10.7% in volume. Although down from record-setting sales in July of last year, frozen and fresh blueberry sales remain elevated relative to historical levels. When compared to retail sales in July 2019, fresh volume is up +2.1% in 2021, and frozen blueberry retail volume is +22.5% higher.
These retail sales reports are intended to supplement our industry members’ internal data, helping you understand the marketplace and make more informed business decisions and plans.
The reports provide a high-level summary of:
- Blueberry, berry category and produce category performance.
- Overall dollar, unit and volume sales trends for frozen and fresh.
- Trends by pack size.
- Trends by Nielsen region.
Summaries of the preceding month’s retail sales performance are posted at the end of the second week of every month. Find the full list of reports at ushbc.org/nielsen-reports.
For more insight on how data is helping to grow the blueberry industry and where the blueberry category is going in the future, check out our recent podcast episode, What Does the Data Say About Blueberries.
USHBC recently launched a pilot project with Kroger that will run through the end of August. The pilot project includes targeted on-site ads highlighting the flavor and value benefits of a “Bigger Boost of Blue” in larger pack sizes. These ads will run systemwide and support larger pack sizes in key markets, as well as other larger sizes available throughout the Kroger system. This pilot project is designed to drive sales of fresh blueberries and help us better understand the impact of on-site advertising, and the volume and dollar growth opportunities in larger sized packages of organic and conventional blueberries.
In the first weekend of the pilot program, USHBC spent just $536.43 and sold 4,444 units for attributed sales of $13,975.64 and a return on ad (ROA) spend of 25.58X. As of August 12, the results continue to be strong, with $7,156.17 in spending and 238,899 impressions garnered to date. There were 48,444 units sold for a total sales of $172,026 and a ROA of 2403.88%. We’re looking forward to seeing the full results of this pilot project in September.